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TikTok hasn’t been banned in the U.S.
Tweets making that claim were posted the same day that TikTok Chief Executive Officer Shou Zi Chew testified before Congress, as scrutiny mounts over possible national security risks linked to the app.
The idea that the wildly popular video app TikTok could be banned in the U.S. has sent Americans into a tailspin. News reports, social media posts and videos across the platform are dissecting how likely it is to happen, what a ban would and wouldn’t accomplish, and how it could be enforced.
But some internet users are getting ahead of themselves and claiming that Congress has already instituted the ban.
"Congress has officially banned TikTok," read one March 23 tweet with over 1.2 million views. Another tweet that said the "USA FINALLY BANNED TIKTOK" was posted the same day and amassed more than 2.5 million views.
Although President Joe Biden and many members of Congress have signaled support for a potential TikTok ban, no action has been taken.
The app was banned from use on federal government devices in December 2021, but as of publication, there was no ban for the general public.
The tweets were posted the same day that TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee, as scrutiny mounts over possible national security risks posed by the app.
TikTok is owned by China-based parent company ByteDance, and experts and politicians say the Chinese government could gain access to detailed data that the app collects on its users, which includes more than 100 million Americans.
On March 15, TikTok confirmed that the Biden administration threatened to ban the app in the U.S. if ByteDance doesn’t divest from the platform. The Chinese Commerce Ministry said it would "firmly oppose" any forced sale.
But experts told PolitiFact that a ban wouldn’t prevent the Chinese government from accessing sensitive data about U.S. social media users, because similar data from other apps would remain available for purchase from third-party brokers.
A TikTok ban could happen, but it hasn’t happened yet. We rate posts that say it has False.
Twitter post, March 23, 2023
Twitter post, March 23, 2023
PolitiFact, US frets about TikTok feeding data to China; banning app won’t end the threat, experts say, March 17, 2023
C-SPAN, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testifies before Congress, March 23, 2023
CNN, March 23, 2023 - TikTok CEO Shou Chew testifies before Congress, March 23, 2023
NBC News, White House backs bipartisan bill that could be used to ban TikTok, March 7, 2023
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